Updated March 2022
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Buying guide for best weed torches

Using weed torches for weed removal has become popular again as people try to reduce or eliminate harmful chemicals that might pollute the soil or groundwater. Torches are also a lot easier on your back than pulling weeds by hand.

There are plenty of weed torches out there, so how do you choose the right one? 

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Weed torches aren't just for weeds. Small models are great for lighting a barbecue or campfire. Come winter, high-output torches can be used to melt snow and ice from your driveway.

Types of weed torches

First introduced in the 1940s, weed torches (or weed burners) have changed very little in the years since. All of them, whether light or heavy, use propane gas for fuel to kill weeds.

Lightweight weed torches have a small gas canister attached, usually 14 or 16 ounces, though it's possible to adapt some models for larger tanks if necessary. These are best used for spot weeding along drives and paths and between rows of vegetables.

Entry-level, lightweight weed torches are quite simple devices. You screw on a gas canister, open an on/off valve, and light the torch using a spark igniter. The flame intensity is constant. Notably, lightweight weed torches can get just as hot as heavy-duty models.

Heavy-duty weed torches attach by hose to a propane tank that weighs up to 20 pounds, and sometimes more. These torches vary in size from those intended for a homeowner with a large yard to commercial models used by farmers, landscapers, and municipal cleaning crews.

Basic heavy-duty weed torches are very similar in operation to lightweight models. Some have flow valves or regulators to keep the gas pressure constant.

Weed torch features to consider

Power: With these devices, power is measured in British Thermal Units (BTU). Small models start at around 25,000 BTU, and 100,000 BTU is common for larger models. The most powerful weed torches we looked at reached 500,000 BTU.

Interchangeable bell: Heavy-duty weed torches have a large, flame-producing area on the end of the rod called a "bell." Sizes vary from 3/4" to 3". On many models, the bell is a fixed size, though some are interchangeable.

Hose length: If you've got a large tank, you want a good hose length so you're not constantly having to lift and move it. Good ones are ten feet, though we’ve seen as short as five. It’s possible to buy and fit a longer hose, but the drop in pressure might mean your weed torch doesn't work properly. Backpacks are available that support a ten-pound propane tank, giving you unrestricted mobility.

Construction: Look for steel construction for greater durability and brass valves that resist corrosion.

Certification: The Canadian Standards Association (CSA International) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) are highly regarded independent bodies that test and certify all manner of mechanical, electrical, and gas products. The logo of either one is a sign that the product has met certain standards of construction and safety.

More advanced weed torches include features that you may or may not find useful for your purposes, such as the following:

  • Variable flame control

  • Built-in ignition (press a button to light)

  • Extendable handle for extra reach

  • Squeeze valve (trigger) to increase gas flow and flame strength (can be retrofitted onto some models)

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Expert Tip
Weed torches don’t usually come with the required propane tank. You should be able to find a number of choices at your local hardware store.

Weed torch prices

Weed torches vary in price depending on quality and features. You can expect to pay from $25 to $400 for one.

Inexpensive: Cheap weed torches can be found for around $25 to $40, but we don't recommend them. The durability can be questionable, and you don't want safety problems where gas and flame are concerned.

Mid-range: High-quality lightweight models start at about $40, so you're not paying a lot more for something from a trusted brand. Most larger, heavy-duty weed torches for home users cost from $70 to $100. With systemic herbicides costing $20 or more for a 32-ounce bottle, a weed torch isn't just an environmentally friendly way to control unwanted plants, it's kinder to your wallet, too!

Expensive: Commercial units cost considerably more. Those with backpacks for holding a gas tank range from $250 to $400.


  • Keep a fire extinguisher or water handy. The flame from a weed torch can be almost invisible – particularly in bright sunlight. It's good practice to have a fire extinguisher or bucket of water handy in case you accidentally set light to decking or fencing. Never use a weed torch near tinder-dry plant matter, hay, or straw.

  • Do not use matches to light your weed torch. It puts your hands too close to the flame.

  • Protect plants with a garden spade. When you have weeds you want to burn that are near plants you want to protect, a garden spade makes a useful shield.

  • Never use a weed torch on poisonous plants. Doing so can release the toxins into the air, so you risk getting them on your skin or breathing them in.

  • Store the weed torch safely. The handle stays cool, so there's no need to wear gloves. However, the burning tip gets very hot indeed, so be careful where you put it when you've just finished working.
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Using weed torches is illegal in some areas, even though selling them is allowed! Check with your municipality or fire department before ordering one. In areas where they can be used, there might still be times of the year when use of a weed torch is prohibited.


Q. How long do I need to keep the flame on the weeds?

A. People who are new to weed torches sometimes think you need to scorch the plant to a crispy stump. You don't. What the flame actually does is boil the water in the plant's cells. The cells collapse and the weed dies.

With torch temperatures of a couple thousand degrees Fahrenheit, the job is usually done in less than a second. Moving the flame fairly rapidly over your weeds is not only effective but also much safer than trying to turn them into a pile of ash.

Q. I've heard that weed torches won't work on perennial weeds. Is that true?

A. Weed torches only kill the part of the plant above ground, so perennial weeds can come back. The solution is to hit them as soon as they reappear. You'll need to do it several times, but with no leaves for photosynthesis, the roots will eventually die. It does require patience, but many people think that's preferable to pouring herbicides into the soil, particularly around vegetables.

Q. Can I use a weed torch to kill weeds in my lawn?

A. You can, as long as the grass is lush and green. Healthy grass has an outer layer that protects it, so it's surprisingly resistant to burning. Don't hold the flame over the weed for too long, though, because your grass will scorch eventually. Treat the weeds quickly, then check back after a few days and retreat if necessary.

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